Saturday, May 23, 2009

Columbus Dispatch: Buckeyes blown out by Hoosiers' hot bats

Saturday, May 23
By Mark Znidar

The Columbus Dispatch

As remarkable as Ohio State has been this season, there have been many days when games turned into batting practice for opponents because of a pitching staff that is youthful and paper-thin.

Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, that happened in the second round of the Big Ten tournament.

Starter Dean Wolosiansky gave up 12 hits in four-plus innings, including five straight to open the fifth, as Indiana roughed up Ohio State 13-3 last night in Huntington Park.

Thanks to Buckeyes fans -- who were loud and present en masse -- the crowd count was 4,019.

The loss was painful for the hometown fans.

"It is embarrassing to lose a game like this," third baseman and co-captain Justin Miller said. "The best thing is we get to strap it on (again). The next game is for pride."

Ohio State (40-16) must win three games to capture the tournament championship, starting with second-seeded Minnesota (37-16) at approximately 3:35 today.

It looked as though Wolosiansky was on the mark when he struck out the side in the second inning after allowing a leadoff double to conference freshman of the year Alex Dickerson.

But Indiana batters adjusted the second time through the lineup and scored three runs in the fourth inning and seven in the fifth to lead 10-2.

The problems for the Buckeyes went beyond pitching. They made three errors, and the bats went silent to the tune of six hits.

"The game of baseball never ceases to amaze me," Ohio State coach Bob Todd said. "I wasn't happy with the way we swung the bats. I wasn't happy with the way we played defense or pitched. That's not taking away anything from Indiana. Our players might be emotionally drained and need to recharge" after the drive to the regular-season championship.

Todd said the turning point came in the top of the fifth inning when Ohio State had the bases loaded with no one out and did not score.

"Then the next half-inning, we just couldn't stop the bleeding," he said.

The Hoosiers have won 10 of their last 11 games and are one victory away from completing an impressive four-year rebuilding job under coach Tracy Smith.

However, Smith isn't about to think that the Big Ten championship and the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament that comes with it are in the bag.

"I'm taking nothing for granted," he said. "I'm excited. The guys are confident. They are on a roll. Literally, I make out the lineup and get out of the way. The work was done in January and February."

First baseman Jerrud Sabourin said Indiana began the turnaround last season by finishing third in the Big Ten tournament despite being the sixth seed.

"Now, we have a little bit of momentum," he said. "It's the way we're swinging the bats. We're taking pressure off our pitchers. They know we're going to score runs."

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